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T-Mobile's new Data Stash plan doesn't let workers share data

Matt Hamblen | Dec. 17, 2014
T-Mobile today unveiled a monthly data rollover plan for consumers and business customers called "Data Stash," but the plan still won't allow workers to share their data with others in a work group.

Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics, said that T-Mobile isn't allowing data sharing between workers because it runs a third-party billing system that won't allow that kind of information to be processed. "Big business sharing of data is the industry standard, and it helps lower costs," Entner said.

Entner also questioned how many T-Mobile customers will actually benefit from the Data Stash. While T-Mobile said 80% of its customers use more than 3GB a month (the minimum required under the new plan), Entner said the average data usage across the U.S. is less — 1.8 GB per month. "So how are T-Mobile customers using over 3 GB, since they would be twice as heavy data users as the rest of the nation?" Entner asked.

In addition, he questioned T-Mobile's contention that $50 billion worth of data is lost annually, yet paid for, because data doesn't roll over. Entner said that $50 billion represents 28% of the entire $180 billion annual value of the whole U.S. wireless industry.

"That $50 billion sounds ridiculous," he said in an interview. "T-Mobile will continue to be a part of that $50 billion lost because very few people will use the Data Stash. If you usually use just 2 GB a month, then Data Stash doesn't change a lot for you and you will never roll over. So, Data Stash helps in only very specific situations. I don't think the rollover news is that big of a deal, even though they put huge hype behind it."

Entner said when AT&T announced it would roll over voice minutes, it only helped AT&T marginally. "That was not a significant game changer. Nobody picks a carrier because they can roll over data," Entner said.

Legere, when challenged on the value of data rollover to T-Mobile that Data Stash, acknowldged it "won't lead to the promised land." But he said not having data rollover is a "pain point" of customers and should be evaluated along with seven other "un-carrier" announcements made in the past two years.

During part of the conference call, Entner politely debated Legere over whether T-Mobile's eight different "un-carrier" announcements, including Data Stash, are generally intended to put the carrier in a position to be purchased. Deutsche Telekom owns 72% of T-Mobile and has repeatedly declared its interest in selling its share.

Legere said it is "painfully clear that the [T-Mobile] strategy is multi-pronged to create a sizeable player. I can't imagine anything we've done so somebody can say it's because of a look" to sell the company off.

Legere said whether or not Deustche Telekom wants to hold onto T-Mobile is "totally different" from the kinds of choices consumers make, as well as the choices Legere as CEO makes. "They are an owner," Legere said. "I have a very scalable and funded business, and if they are a shareholder that wants to leave, I'm fine."


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